Davey Johnson says Chien-Ming Wang “is doing very well” and could return this month

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Chien-Ming Wang has looked good enough throwing off a mound in extended spring training that he could be ready to join the Nationals’ rotation later this month, according to manager Davey Johnson.

Johnson told James Wagner of the Washington Post that Wang “is doing very well” in his recovery from a hamstring injury and “is ahead of the program.”

Assuming that Wang can avoid a setback it’ll be interesting to see what the Nationals do once he’s healthy, as they demoted John Lannan to Triple-A even though Wang was on the DL and opted to go with Ross Detwiler as the No. 5 starter.

Cardinals tab Miles Mikolas for Opening Day start

Miles Mikolas
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The Cardinals have selected right-hander Miles Mikolas as their Opening Day starter, the club revealed Saturday. It’ll mark the first career Opening Day start for Mikolas, who is scheduled to go up against the Brewers when the team hits the road on March 28.

The 29-year-old righty was a strong contender for the 2018 NL Cy Young Award, earning All-Star distinctions and pitching to a career-best 18-4 record with a 2.83 ERA, 1.3 BB/9, 6.5 SO/9, and 4.3 fWAR over 200 2/3 innings. He’s positioned to lead the Cardinals rotation in 2019 as well, with former Opening Day starters Carlos Martínez and Adam Wainwright and some combination of right-handers Jack Flaherty, Michael Wacha, Alex Reyes, and John Gant behind him.

Manager Mike Shildt told reporters that Flaherty, Wacha, Wainwright, and Martínez had all been considered for the honor, but admitted that Opening Day honors were ultimately handed to Mikolas “in recognition of [his performance] last year.” The Cardinals are scheduled to play a four-game set against the Brewers to start the season and will stop over in Pittsburgh for another two games before returning to St. Louis for their opening homestand against the Padres on April 4. Additional pitching assignments have yet to be announced.